According to the Harvard Business School, “Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.” As you can see, customer retention is obviously very important to the success of any business, including a dental practice. The longer your patients stay with you, the more money you can expect to earn through profits. Yes, your goal may be altruistic in that you desire to provide exceptional dental care to your patients. However, the idea of earning a profit and providing superior oral health care are not mutually exclusive. When you provide a world-class patient experience, your customer base will grow and you will inadvertently increase your profit margin.

In my book, Dental Entrepreneur’s Guide to Profitable eMarketing Strategy, I dedicate a chapter on how to keep your customers coming back. If you follow the concepts taught in the book, you will establish a trusted relationship with your customers through what I call, Trust Authority Building (TAB) websites; setting the foundation for increased customer loyalty to your business that have them coming back repeatedly, essentially building your customer base. There are many other ways to build a successful customer base, which I also mention in my book. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Utilize Modern Technology
Mobile phones — Use this technology to keep your patients informed of last-minute deals, or just to keep in touch.Emails — Sending emails are very effective as they can be automated to send out “thank you notes to new patients, and follow-up emails to evaluate their experience after their visit.

  • Publish a Physical Newsletter
Supplement your communication channels with a physical newsletter. Research shows people place more trust in traditional media than in digital media (see trust-based infographic). The purpose of the newsletter is to give information that is not urgent. E.g. you may choose to run a promotion for the month of June, so you would include that info in the May newsletter. Ensure that personal elements such as hand-written signatures and simulated handwriting in the print are included, as these build trust and goodwill.


  • Expand Your Services
To build a customer base takes time and dedication. Sometimes it literally requires you going beyond offering specialised oral care, to other areas you may not have chosen when you initially opened your practice. Do a survey to see what your patients need and offer it.
  • Attend Networking Events
Another method of building your customer base is by attending networking events and collecting business cards. Send emails to let your new contacts know how much you appreciated meeting them; find out from them if there is anything you can do for them; keep in touch with them on a regular basis; and establish yourself as the “go-to” dentist when they have questions. Before long they will be attending your practice to experience your world-class service.

Did you find these tips helpful? What did I miss? Share your thoughts in the Comments box below.